Friday, July 2, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Sleepaway Camp III

Here we are again with the third and final Sleepaway Camp of the 1980s.  I should note that a fourth film was made, but not completed.  All of you who actually spent the money on that box-set can feel special, I guess.  So what's changed this time around?  Well, it's a new camp full of teens and naive counselors.  In a return to form, Angela is a camper, although it is notable that Pamela Springsteen was 26 when she made this movie.  To the film's credit, there is a joke or two made about her not looking 17.  Ha ha, plot holes are funny!  If you thought that the social commentary and humor was too subtle in Part II, you're going to love this movie.  If you thought that it was way too blunt and ridiculous, you're going to really hate this movie.  The good thing about viewing the film on DVD is that all of the blood and guts that were excised from the original cut are back.  I hope that can distract me from the tedium.  Get out your age-concealing make-up for my review of...
The film begins with a bitchy teen getting up to go to a camp.  If you were wondering if the film would have pointless nudity in the first two minutes, the answer is 'yes.'  She goes to the bus stop, but is chased away by an oncoming garbage truck!  She runs into the opposed to just some stairs and gets run over.  Somehow, nobody goes to check on this or the driver's subsequent crushing of the girl's body in the back of truck.  Any guesses on the who the driver is?  Yeah, it's Angela, who conveniently has 'Angela is Back' spray-painted on a wall behind her.  People in New York really are blind!  She arrives undercover at Camp New Horizons, a special camp set-up by a married couple.  The plan is simple: half of the campers are rich socialite teenagers and the others are poor teenagers from 'the inner city.'  Fun fact: the rich teens are named after The Brady Bunch kids, while the poor ones are named after characters from West Side Story.  That's the kind of subtlety you get in this movie, so get used to it!  A reporter does a story on them and leaves, but not before being given some 'drugs' by Angela.  She drives twenty feet out of camp and snorts the 'cocaine,' only to find out that it's industrial cleaner and she dies.  Nobody ever discovers the body, by the way.  Angela is primed and ready to kill!
Angela's plan hits a wrinkle when she meets the third counselor (yes, only three): the cop father of the male lead in Part II.  He's also one of the cops that arrested her after the end of the original film, so, naturally, he doesn't recognize her.  The campers are split up into three groups and sent to different sections of the woods.  We get a little characterization, but it really amounts to very little.  The poor kids are ethnic cliches, including the black kid who always plays rap and the grungy white kid who's always spray-painting things.  As far as the rich kids go, they're all just variants of the same vanilla character, save for the 'final girl.'  Fun fact: this final girl is also the sister of a celebrity- Melanie Griffith.  Does anyone care?  I didn't think so.  We don't have to wait too long before we get some killings.  One of the poor kids who annoys Angela with firecrackers dies early, but not after a sight gag with the Jason mask and a joke about it being Saturday the 14th.  That only serves to remind me how I can't watch that movie, you jerk!  The slutty girl is also killed, alongside the perverted husband/camp co-owner.  After killing off the kid with the spray paint, our heroine leaves the group and moves on to a second one.

The problem with the movie is pretty evident here- nothing without Angela is actually interesting.  The wife's group is joined by our villainess, who proceeds to target them next.  She takes advantage of a trust exercise to lead the racist, rich girl away and kill her.  Aside from reminding me of Princess Clara, I don't care about the character one bit.  The remaining group is taken out with ease, including the rich guy who has the hots for Angela and the wife.  The former has his arms ripped off by a tow line, while the latter is buried in a hole and decapitated with a lawnmower.  No, I don't exactly know how that is supposed to work.  With that out of the way, she joins the third and final group.  Things don't go well, however, as the cop finally figures out who Angela is and, after a whole film's worth of build-up, is shot to death.  Wow, that was anti-climactic.  It comes down to our 'final girl,' the lead boy (also her love interest) and two expendable teens.  Angela holds them hostage with the black kid's gun from earlier and makes them do a Saw-like game where they must find the 'final girl' in two minutes or die.  When they get to her, they set off a trap that kills the two expendable teens.  Angela decides to spare the two because of their 'innocence,' so they stab her.  On the ambulance ride away, Angela kills the EMTs and escapes...with a stomach wound.  The End.

This movie blows and for a great many reasons.  For one, Angela is the only reason to watch this movie.  Every character besides her is replaceable and is given the same amount of care and work that went into naming them.  Hell, even the guy with two films worth of back-story (the cop) does nothing and dies!  The acting is...well, it's a low-budget, '80s horror film that tries to be funny- you figure it out.  The only thing of note is that a couple of them- especially the Asian gal- are kind of hot.  The plot is really silly and stupid, but that's no surprise.  We're on the second sequel to a film that is really only notable for its twist ending, for crying out loud!  Hell, even Pamela doesn't seem that interested in this material.  You can tell this by the necessity of adding a new quirk to her character: wearing Ray Ban sunglasses while killing people.  That helps block the sight of your actress always rolling her eyes at her dialogue, I suppose.  The biggest strike against this movie is the really blunt and pointless satire.  So much of it is just ridiculous and does nothing to help make this movie timeless.  It's only been twenty years or so since this movie came out, but it really feels like a product of its era and nothing more.  Unless you have to see every slasher film ever made (guilty), you can skip this one without missing much.
Up next, Mondo Bizarro celebrates 800 posts in the usual style.  Who wants a weird, foreign film that you've probably never heard of?  Stay tuned...

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